Monday, September 11, 2017

So I guess I should ask for help!

I mentioned in my last post that I've been having a lot of trouble making the transition to getting art from upper-tier artists. Often, it's a lot of work just finding their commission information and getting an idea of how they work, if they run on a certain schedule or what, or even if they're actually taking commissions. And if they are, many of them seem to only announce it in certain places all over the web, often for very short periods of time. It almost feels like just getting art from these people would be a full-time job!

It was really discouraging for me, and I have a lot of things I'd really rather be doing, but it needs to be done! So I realized: I get folks emailing me and the like now and then because they love MVOL and they want to do whatever they can to help. And besides becoming a Proofer, I usually don't have much to suggest, as much as I appreciate the sentiment. But maybe that's no longer true!

So I'd like to call out for anyone with spare time every day and a bit of patience that's willing to help me get awesome art for MVOL! There would be two major parts to this. First, I'd send you a list of artists that I think are promising, and you would research them. Look through their posts, journals, google them, find what blogs and such they might have, try to get all the info you can on how to commission them. Prices, procedures, terms of service, schedule, things like that.

Second, for any of these artists that still seem promising and are only open some of the time (which seems to be most of them) you would keep tabs on wherever they announce that sort of thing. In some cases, it might even be necessary for you to grab a spot for me before they close up, but that's something we'd have to figure out as we go along.

Having experience with commissioning big name artists would certainly help, but isn't necessary. If you think you have the time and patience to act as an Artist Hunter for me, please drop me a line! I would be happy to have more than one, as I have a lot of artists on my wishlist, and with how short some of these windows for comms can be, I think having multiple eyes out there could be a big help. This feels a little silly asking for this, but I think it might be the only way to get the real high-scale art I'm hoping for into MVOL!

Also, if you're interested in helping and you have a fine eye for detail and a strong grasp on English, I'm always in need of more Proofers! There are always more typos and bugs in MVOL, and I can use your help cleaning things up! Proofers also get early access to new versions of the game so they can help clean it up before the release. Take a look!

Thanks, guys! Hopefully together, we can get MVOL looking better than ever!

Friday, September 8, 2017

v0.30 is Live!

Get your copy now under the Play the Game tab above! Having trouble? Check the FAQ for a guide on making SWFs work and just lots of interesting stuff!

So this version comes with some good news and some bad news. First off, you might consider this both good and bad news: the second trip through the Glass Door is complete! That's right, it's all done in one version, start to finish, including every variation! The bad news there being, that's because it's not as involved a trip as most of the others, nor as varied. This marks the middle section of the middle chapter of the second and final Act of the game, and you might say it's something of a lull before we start the big... well. Before the end begins.

For more good news, if you've been keeping an eye on my Patreon you may have noticed we've passed (more or less, Patreon's numbers vary a lot over the course of the month because weird reporting) my second big stretch milestone! This means it's time to triple my art budget and start getting in touch with some of the big names in the art community to see about getting some really high-quality art into MVOL! I've been super excited and super nervous about this goal, but the time has finally come to reach out to artists I've hardly dared dream of working with. And...

And it's been a complete failure so far. I've sent PMs and emails to over a dozen artists I really admire and think could be a great for for MVOL, asking if they'd be open to drawing the variants necessary for a piece of art in MVOL. A couple were open to the idea, but not available for commissions right now. One or two declined. The rest flat out ignored me. Honestly, just trying to track down commission information for all of them (and the two dozen artists who, upon research, would obviously not be a match for one reason or another) was exhausting, and half the time I simply had to try a PM because I couldn't find any other indication of how to possibly approach them about commissions, even when they were obviously churning them out in great multitudes.

I think that top-tier artists tend to find themselves in a situation where they have more people approaching them than they could ever possibly draw for, and that if they simply make themselves virtually inaccessible, they can find more than enough work among repeat customers and the occasional network connection or new client gained by happenstance. That's the best, most optimistic explanation I have at this point for how artists can churn out so many commissions without ever giving any indication of how they accept them, or responding to inquiries.

Whatever the explanation, I have hit a wall rather unexpectedly. That's not to say I've given up-- there are many more artists of great talent I intend to reach out to in the days to come. It's just... you know, tough to throw yourself right back into that. If anyone has advice on how to approach high-level artists, or knowledge of what avenues are the best to use, or maybe if there's some "avoid these commissioners" page somewhere with me pasted on there because I got fidgety about getting Lith's look right one too many times... If you guys know anything that might help me with this great hunt for great artists, please do let me know. You can comment here or email me or what have you, I'm all ears. I want to get amazing artists working with Lith.

Well. That was another set of good and bad news. I did manage to get some art for this release, two pieces as usual, but they're more of the typical fare my usual budget would allow. One will be quite easy to find for one third of my players on a standard run through, and the other is pretty easy to have thrust on you if you're into that sort of thing, and Lith has what he needs. Getting the last piece of art for this release was its own little adventure, just concluding at the last possible moment with a desperate stream commission that turned out surprisingly well. To be honest, v0.30 has been full of ups and downs and has just been immensely wearying in many ways, but I've covered the big points. If you want a better timeline of what happened, and to keep up on how development is going in the future, you're welcome to check out my Twitter. I've been getting mostly better about using it to report as I get writing done, grumble about my problems, and generally ramble about nerdy and furry stuff.

Actually, you may notice on there that I've finished a few stories recently. In case you didn't know, besides writing MVOL, I also have a pretty hefty archive of stories on FurAffinity and SoFurry. I kinda went a year without adding more, but that's apparently partly because I left a lot of them not quiiite finished, and you can expect several new stories to be coming out in the weeks and months to come! My stories tend to be quite the grab bag, including canon stories featuring Lith outside the void, lots of interesting experimental pieces, and a great deal of weird, kinky stuff that's more fetishistic than I really dare to be with MVOL. Try a few! I often surprise people with what I can get them to enjoy reading about, and I love broadening folks' horizons a touch.

Anyway, that's all the news and self-promotion for now. This version was a pretty rough trip, but I'm hoping things will smooth out a little now we've learned from this. Again, if you guys have any advice or helpful information for commissioning high-tier artists, if you know anyone that might be able to put in a good word for me or what have you, I'd be grateful for any help. My amazing supporters have given me the money to maybe afford these amazing artists, but apparently it's not as simple as being ready to pay. But we can make it happen!

Thank you, everyone, for being part of this with me.